Robert Erskine
1983
Strategy: War
£5.95
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

14
Chris Bourne

Nine German bomber squadrons with fighter escorts (raider 1 to raider 9) are flying by various routes to one of three possible targets. As commander of 9 RAF squadrons your mission is to intercept the enemy before they reach their target. The last known positions of the enemy are plotted on the map, plus the present positions of your own.

Enemy squadron routes and the target are chosen randomly at the start of each game. You can scramble your squadrons to intercept the enemy along their estimated routes. If one of your squadrons comes within one square of an enemy flight it will, lock on an attack. Each squadron can be reinforced by having another within one square of the attacking squadron. Running low on fuel, squadrons will automatically return to base and are out of action until they are ON STANDBY again. If a fighter squadron has a chance encounter with a raider it will attack on its own initiative. The Germans have up to 55 planes each including escorts. British flights have 10 planes each.

The screen shows a map of the South East of England with the edge of London in the top left corner, going right round the Kent coast to just beyond Hastings. Your nine fighter bases are marked as black squares with yellow figures.

They are situated approximately in the positions of Folkestone, Dover, Ramsgate, Sheerness, Chatham, Maidstone, and three clustered to the south of London. Squadrons in flight are shown as rectangles with squadron number and aircraft symbol in blue for the RAF and red for the Germans. A squadron in combat flashes inversely.

The top left side of the screen are divided into grid co-ordinates A to T vertically and A to Z through toe horizontally. The player may press command keys to scramble a squadron, change its course, send one on a preset patrol, return it to base, report its status, check the instructions of quit the game. A message strip at the base informs on enemy squadron dispositions as soon as they are known.

Here also you can use the commands, being prompted as to squadron number and desired direction of movement. Pressing X gives a tally to date of destroyed aircraft on both sides.

Variable difficulty levels may be set by altering the number of bombers required to reach their target before the game is lost. This may be only one, or up to the total number allowed. The program has 100 as normal.

CRITICISM

'A slight problem in getting started is that the instructions are only on screen (apart from the command keys which are shown on the inlay) with a scroll? at the bottom of each page. Following normal hit any-key procedure will cause a break into BASIC, they don't tell you until the end of the instructions that breaking into the program can be overcome by entering RETURN or GOTO LOOP. GOTO 1 will also do. I found the game somewhat uninspiring to be honest. The idea of remote command of fighting units is interesting, and must be a bit what it was like to be in control actually during the Battle of Britain, stuck away in the command centres, but as a game it is naturally much less fun that actually taking part in the combat - and that's the problem. It's all a bit cold.'

'Battle of Britain is a strategy game with spatial problems. As you can only estimate the route the enemy are taking, to intercept them it is important to use your squadrons wisely in saturating the airspace in front of the approaching bombers to find them. I found it became quite absorbing for a while, but the inherent lack of action in the game means that it palls after a bit.'

'The graphics are very simple, and so is what you have to do, which makes Battle of Britain a bit short on addictivity and playability. I'm sure a lot more elements could have been added to make it more interesting. It could also have been a bit faster but the BASIC makes everything quite slow, with enemy known positions being updated only at long intervals. This might appeal to some wargamers, but I would have thought it lacked complexity, and its very nature will mean it won't appeal to arcade players at all.'

COMMENTS
Use of colour: adequate for the purpose
Graphics: very simple symbols and map outline
Sound: on or off, just beeps
Skill levels: very variable
General Rating: A rather simple strategy wargame lacking in action.

56%
43%
53%
45%
34%
46%
46%

Screenshot Text

There'll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover...